AK reaction to new Veterans Affairs Secretary

Published: Mar. 29, 2018 at 5:54 PM AKDT
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On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that there would be a new head of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. White House Physician Admiral Ronny Jackson will be nominated to replace now former VA Secretary David Shulkin.

Thursday, Senator Dan Sullivan released a statement about President Trump’s new nominee. “I wish to thank Dr. Shulkin for his service and commitment to our veterans and our nation – the Secretary of the VA is one of the most challenging jobs in Washington,” said Senator Sullivan. “As part of his confirmation process in 2015, I invited Dr. Shulkin to Alaska so that he could see and hear from Alaska veterans, and understand the barriers and unique challenges of our state. That visit, where he met with hundreds of Alaskan veterans, instilled in him a commitment to focus on Alaska issues. I will certainly be looking for and requiring that same level of attention and focus on Alaska’s unique needs from President Trump’s new nominee, Admiral Jackson."

Alaska has just under 70,000 Veterans who make up nearly 10% of the state’s population and are greatly impacted, and in some ways dependent, on a successful VA system.

Ernest L. King is a U.S. Army Veteran who served in Vietnam before leaving the Army in 1987. He says that he has high expectations for Admiral Jackson and hopes he can live up to them.

"I would like for him to go visit the VA building don't just sit there in the office and on the phone. Go out and visit talk to the people out there about what's going on. You can't learn something sitting behind a desk, you need to get out in the field and talk to the soldiers," said King.

There is no timetable on when or if Admiral Jackson will be confirmed by the Senate. Senator Dan Sullivan is part of The Committee on Armed Services of the U.S. Senate.